Editor’s Note: This post is part of Jewels of Elul, which celebrates the Jewish tradition to dedicate the 29 days of the month of Elul to growth and discovery in preparation for the coming high holy days. This year the program is benefiting Beit T’shuvah, a residential addiction treatment center in Los Angeles. You can subscribe on Jewels of Elul to receive inspirational reflections from public figures each day of the month. You don’t have to be on the blog tour to write a blog post on “The Art of Beginning… Again”. We invite everyone to post this month (August 11th – September 8th) with Jewels of Elul to grow and learn.
By Laura Weisskopf Bleill
It’s the morning rush, and my husband and I are shepherding our children to their daily activities. Every day we ask our little 20-month-old daughter — somewhat hypothetically — “Ready?” And then one day, I can’t remember exactly when, she responded back: “Ready!”
It’s a good thing one of us is ready to take on the day, because when are we really ready to take on the new challenges — and new beginnings — that parenting young children brings us on a regular basis? First there are the milestones you write down in the mythical baby book: the first time they eat solids, the first time they pee on the potty, the first time they say “I love you.” As they grow older there’s the new school year, the new teacher, the new skills, the new phases, the new attitudes, the new friends, the new emotions, the new obsession, the new trends. Everything is new — all the time.
For me, it started the moment I learned I was pregnant. Even after all the struggles we had even getting to that point, I still wondered: Am I ready to be pregnant? In those weeks before our first child was born, the question turned to: Am I ready to be a mom?
With two kids, we’ve become experienced veterans of new beginnings. In fact, we’re probably too good at it, in the sense that we’ve lost some of our our reverence for them. That’s one of the reasons why I am waiting with great anticipation for Rosh Hashanah — an opportunity to stop, if only for a day, and reflect back on the past year, all the while looking ahead towards a new year. These days, moments of reflection are few and far between.
The Jewish high holidays fall early in the calendar this year, with Rosh Hashanah coming up right after Labor Day. Early, I hear myself saying. Translation: I’m not ready. But if motherhood has taught me anything, it’s this: some things you can never really be ready for. And often, those are the best things in life.
Laura Weisskopf Bleill, a co-founder of chambanamoms.com, has two other reasons to be excited about Rosh Hashanah: rugelach and chicken soup. She writes “Being a Jew in C-U,” a column about being a Jewish suburban girl in a cornfield, on Thursdays. You can reach her at email@example.com.